You are here:

Sleep Disorders/Hallucinating at night with NO DRUG USE


Iseult wrote at 2007-10-29 21:12:08
Hi there, I have the same problem. Well I wouldn't really call it a problem. I normally have these 'hallucinations' when I have had very little sleep or if I'm sharing a bed or a room.  The first I can remember occured when I was about 4 years old. It was a reccuring dream involving E.T and my wardrobe. Every night I would wake up in the middle of the night, walk over to my wardrobe and open it to find E.T standing there staring at me. SCARY! Next was when I was about 10 years old, I was sharing a rrom with my friend, we had been asleep for about half an hour. I sat up and saw a toaster boiling over, of all things. I didn't know what to do so I yelled at my poor sleeping friend not to touch it or she would be electricuted! The next strange one was when I was on holiday with a friend and we were sharing a room. We had just hung our washing out to dry on our balcony before we went to sleep. After a good few hours sleep I sat bolt upright and saw the washing line in our room and all our clothes flying out the window due to a very strong gust of wind! Next was probably this year, my friend and I got back in the very early hours of the morning. We both crashed on my bed. A while later I heard a very strange sound. I sat up and saw a friend of ours kneeling between us saying 'Eh eh eeeeeeeh?'. I told him to shut up and asked him what he was doing in my room. My friend woke up and asked me what the hell I was talking about. This woke me up but I could still hear the noise. My friend and I were so freaked out. It turned out it was my cat outside my window making weird sounds. After that was the time my friend was over from Spain. We were sharing a room, I had fallen asleep with my arm hanging over the edge of my bed. I realised I was being pulled under the bed. I screamed for help. My friend asked me what was going on and I told her there was a man under my bed! She had half woken me up and I reassured myself that the man had gone by checking under the bed. The night before last I went to bed for a quick siesta and I looked over to my chest of drawers to find my friend rooting through my clothes trying to find something to wear. I told her to stop, that I was trying to sleep, with which woke myself up. Last night I was at a party and about 10 people were sleeping on the bedroom floor. At about 5am I sat up and looked around, I couldn't believe it. There was a dog climbing up the wall. I was so shocked I asked, very loudly, if someone would put the dog out. Its kind of getting embarrassing now, there have been other instances too, camping and that sort of thing. Where I wake up and see people at the end of my bed. I see myself holding cups too and I've fallen out of bed the odd time trying to reach for things. I often wake up in my own room and think I'm somewhere else. It takes a little while to look around the room and re-adjust.

Helena, London wrote at 2008-02-21 10:31:04

I've just read your dilemma.  I too have suffered from such episodes. Equally as real as yours.  And it was weird because you do feel like you must have taken some LSD or something! I never have. For about five years through my mid twenties I would have these night time hallucinations.  Mine however don't sound as kind as yours - they were always very disturbing - terrifying with dark ghoulish characters playing center stage - although as equally present and life like as yours. I too would wake exhausted and quite freaked out. At the time I was investigating various food intolerances, so I started cutting out alcohol - and after a period of time I realised that my episodes only occurred after I had drunk white wine. I have to stress I have never been a big drinker and not have any problems with moderate alcohol consumption. After cutting white wine out I stopped having the episodes, and never had one again. However last night - after not having an episode for seven years, I had another! Milder but still as vivid and occurring while I was completely awake.  I'm trying to think of what I drank and ate last night, unusually I had a diet coke - something I never ever drink. There was no alcohol in it, so I'm wondering if there was something in the diet coke that triggered it. You are certainly not alone - I really do urge you to look at what you're drinking and eating.  I don't believe us humans are designed to take on board the amount of alcohol/chemicals as we do, and some of us are a lot more sensitive than others.  Hope this helps!

phsycoangel wrote at 2008-02-27 23:32:08
I also sufer from something simular to this. You are lucky that what you are seeing is friends , or being at work. I see shadows , bugs, things reaching out to me sometimes. It does not happen every night , but is very frustrating . Sometimes i can talk myself out of being scared and remeber that what i am seeing is not there but other times and quiet more oftin i will open my eye's and start screaming . I have jumped out in the floor before trying to run from what i was seeing. i have been to the sllep center. I have even mentioned this to my doceter.The only thing so far that they have found is sleep apnea, a mild case. They say it could be causeing the lucid type dreaming. I start wearing the c-pap  soon and will repost if htere is any diffrence after. I have been doing this for years , at least for 13 yrs , as i am now 30. My poor husband sleeps horribly sometimes because of me. If i am not screaming then i am talking non sense about things that are not there. I wish you luck with finding out what the problem is.

Kerry wrote at 2008-03-26 17:41:50
This is amazing... nobody else has had any idea what I was talking about. I've been seeing things for 11 years now. My neurologist called it "conversion disorder," the incompetent bastard. My sleep specialist suspected narcolepsy but the neuro wouldn't refer me back for the right tests.

I've been taking Lamictal and for a year, the hallucinations went away. They came back last night, though. I see people, I've been to work too! It's tiring being at work at night as well as during the day. =P I've also had beetles, cats, fluorescent octopuses and a flying laser come visit. I think I'm going to up my dose!

Kate wrote at 2008-03-30 06:38:00

I have the same exact problem... I see "things" in the middle of the night... and only when the room is dark with little or no light.  I've had similar situations where I see a person or people standing around in my room and I can hold a conversation with them.  Then, I go to turn on the light... and they're gone.  

Other times, I wake up and think I see ghosts or even bugs!  For example, last night I woke up and saw bats flying around my room.  I was wide awake, and even shook my head a few times to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  I even woke up my boyfriend to tell him, and I got mad at him when he tried to tell me I was dreaming.  I definitely wasn't asleep.

I've done a lot of research on it to try and find answers.  I've read up on Einstein and Stephen Hawking too... and about the Theory of Relativity and Higher Dimensions.

I don't think that it's a hallucination all the time.  Perhaps sometimes, but not all.  Theoretical Physicists say that we as humans can  only see into 3 dimensions, and that in reality, there are actually 10.  So I believe that what I'm seeing (and probably you too)... perhaps sometimes is into another dimensions.  It's just science.  Einstein was a smart man, you should research some of his theories if you want to find the answers.  Doctors don't always have the correct answers, and it's a shame that psychologists try to diagnose mental disorders as the solution to people's problems.  It's not always mental, I think some people just use more of their brain than others.  It's a gift.  

Ashley June wrote at 2008-04-30 21:36:00
I wish that i read this 3 years ago because i can relate to your exact situation. I am 21 now and when I discuss this to my family or friends their reactions is that I'm over exaggerating. They usually say they've had dreams that seem like "real life" too. But no I'm not dreaming.. well i am but I'm not.

It started with me when i was young probably 13 or 14. I would "wake up" and see bugs crawling all over my bed, I would then get the hell out of my bed and freak out, it would take me a couple of minutes to realize it was a dream and even then it took even more convincing that they weren't in my covers.

Well the years went by and i would have similar dreams few times a year. Well last summer i was pushed to my limit. I started a new job at a bank and was completely stressed out. I would wake up in the middle of the night and see papers all over my room, i would pick them up and sort them, filing them away... then i would realize i was dreaming and go back to bed. This would go on through out the night, wake up dreaming, realize it, go back to bed, and wake up again. I was so sleep deprived i honestly think i was on the verge of going crazy i was so depressed at the end of the summer.. i was just so tired. I ended up going to the doctors because it was making me sick and i got put on a sleeping/minor depression drug Serequel. Thank God. Sense i started the meds it hasn't been the same.. my parents still don't quite understand though no one really does. Its kind of annoying.  But i'm so glade i can show the proof now that its not just me.


Spartacush wrote at 2008-05-29 21:09:01
I have been having the exact same hallucinations for around 18 years (I am now 29).

From around the age of 5 I had night terrors where i had hallucinations but with a feeling of absolute dread, panic and utter helplessness-evil things. I learnt to control these as I got older and they pretty much stopped by the age of 15. I had nothing other than peaceful sleep till I was about 22 where I would wake up and find people sat at the bottom of my bed. Usually work colleagues or friends. I would sit there looking at them afraid to move or even breathe in case they saw me. I have also has the crawling bugs, mists, flashing lights etc. I had one last night where plant roots were growing across the ceiling. It was particularly vivid and I had the usual feeling of dread. My first instinct was to panic and wake up my partner but I decided to just sit, watch and 'brave it out'. Eventually the plant roots grew back and I went back to sleep. My hallucinations, although extremely vivid and  potentially embarrassing (I once found myself naked looking out of my ground floor bedroom window)are not frequent-I get a  couple a month. The best advice I can give is to try not to stress about it (difficult if you get them regularly, I know) but I think stress makes them much worse. Try to recognize the symptoms when they are happening. Once you can do that you can manipulate/control them. Once you can do that the sooner you can get yourself off to sleep. I don't think you can ever get rid of them but I certainly think you can reduce their frequency and the length of time they can go on for. Good luck!

Sleepy wrote at 2008-07-01 23:39:00
Same boat here.  I've had them ever since I can remember - I even continue to see them sometimes after I turn the light on!  It usually takes a few minutes before they start to fade - and I feel completely awake.  I talked to a psychologist, who recommended a sleep study in case I'm having subclinical seizures as I'm coming out of REM sleep.  This can be common, and it doesn't have to be during the day.  Anyway, go get a sleep study done.  That's what I'm doing :)

finally understood wrote at 2008-10-24 02:16:54
Im so glad I read this, because I've been experiencing hallucinations for the past four years and no one understands me! It gets so frustrating when everyone keeps saying youre just dreaming a very vivid dream...I showed your letter to my father and he finally beleived me. Now he wants to take me to a sleep specialist, though I don't know if I'm going to go. I don't get them so severely- they only last minutes. I do hallucinate that there are bugs in my room, though and that drives me up the walls. Its good to know I'm not the only one out there hallucinating at night!

Seeing Things wrote at 2008-12-12 16:08:33
My hallucination stories are entertainment at parties and get-togethers anymore.  They started when I was in my mid 20s with a man-like creature crawling across the ceiling after which I jumped up screaming that there was something on the ceiling.  My husband nearly had a hear attack and as soon as I made it across the room and turned on the light it went away and I went right back to bed and to sleep.  Much to my husband's annoyance! He tried to convince me I saw the ceiling fan, but the hallucinations kept happening, although with less drama anymore since I figured out what was going on.  I have always dreamt A LOT, but only the last maybe 7 years have I evolved to hallucinations. They range from a large spider or snake crawling over me to seeing a person or persons walking around my bedroom.  Always dark figures that are non-descript.  I hear that I talk in my sleep and kick or "run" and scratch the sheets.  I have woken myself up scratching the sheets. Recently I apparently completely pushed my husband out of our kind sized bed with my feet and did not recall it at all.  So, we'll see if it gets worse and maybe I will see about the sleep test.  I do get tired after particularly bad nights, but I can usually manage to get through the day just fine.  The nights I do things that I don't remember seem to be the most tiring (for us both).  I finally met someone else with the same affliction on vacation recently. It was wild sharing similar stories and hearing how her husband is tired of getting woken up too. I wish there was a simple answer, but I figure any medications may cause other problems or make things worse.  I have noticed that a change of venue such as a vacation or when we moved to a new house suppressed the problem for a while.

Kelli wrote at 2009-01-24 07:53:46
Are you drinking morecoffee now that you work in the coffee shop? Caffeine can be very shocking in some people- look up caffeine on Google and see what it can do to some people.

Zen-B wrote at 2009-02-01 09:53:43
People only say things like its a dream or they might try to relate to that situation for the desire of attention. I found it most common in women for my mother and sister show signs of this when I explain something is wrong. So please see a doctor or physiologist!

suzanne d wrote at 2009-02-23 19:07:21
You have a REM disorder called a parasomnia.  I have had the same thing since I was a child and I am now 40.  My hallucinations are sometimes benign but often they are about intruders.  It wasn't until I hurt myself and my GYN/OB told me to go for help. They put me on Klonopin, a drug that is used for seizures, anxiety and sleep disorders. It really worked for me. I went on it 3 years ago and still have break through hallucinations while travelling (hotels) or under stress.

See a reputable sleep doctor. They will know exactly what is wrong within one sentence of you speaking. They may require a sleep study, but you never know.

elle wrote at 2009-07-14 04:04:15
Hi Pam, I happen to be about your age and suffer from the EXACT same symptoms - I will sometimes wake up with my friends in my room, and try to get them all to leave, wake up acting as though I were at the register at my work, wake up holding my pinky to my ear and my thumb to my mouth, talking as though on the phone, and in one very disturbing instance, I woke up to a crying baby in my bed! I have not found them to be related to any physical cause, but sometimes to some stress I was suffering during the day or on my conscience, and so that it is about all the advice I can offer you. My family doesn't believe me nor care enough to get it checked out, but that is something I always craved - an acknowledgement that I was going through something. I hope having someone else share your symptoms will relieve you of that stress, as it has me, and thank you, Karel; I had used a symptom checker (as reliable as those can be) and had received a similar diagnosis, but didn't know whether to trust - so I thank you for that confirmation!

sincerely, elle

Mike wrote at 2009-09-07 15:16:38
I have been having a similar problem.

I woke up at three am this morning to see a girl laying in my bed by my feet. I wasn't scared or anything, I just figured she got drunk and one of my friends let her pass out in my bed as a joke.

It was as real as a person could be, I got up out of my bed and went into my kitchen, to embarassed to realy go back into my room where there is a girl I don't know.

I finaly upped the nerve and walked into my room, and what do ya know, there's no girl. I am 100% sure I was awake and not dreaming.

It's kinda scary in a way, I'm gonna try and touch the next person I see at night and see what happens.

Andy S. wrote at 2009-10-15 03:29:52
I'm 15 and I've had tons of experience with this as well, I'll hallucinate in bed for hours, seeing people from school and talking to them. I'm always really embarrassed because im in bed in my pajamas and everyone else is normal. The first one I ever had, my whole 4th grade class was dancing in bright red suits in my room, then it went away until 8th grade, and i hallucinated almost every night, then I only did it once a week in 9th grade, and now it happens all the time. When i realize that im just hallucinating, everyone usually just disappears but sometimes they just stay there talking to me and I have to tell myself they aren't real until i fall asleep. its scary and i wish it would stop.

Victoria S wrote at 2009-10-19 19:43:22
My son is 9 years old and he has been having night terrors since he was 3 years old. He woke up last night screaming, terrified. He run to my bed than, I tried to wake him up and thought he was awake so I took him to the kitchen to drink water and he drank the water shaking and run to his room jumped in bed screaming terrified. I managed to get him to calm down and fall asleep, but he woke up later that there was a kid in the room so I turned on the light and kept the light on all night and that is how he slept. But I couldnt sleep all night making sure he didnt wake up terrified. Reading all of the comments I have a better understanding and I can send him to get treatment and now I know its not a mental disorder.

Sibs wrote at 2009-11-17 09:39:27

I have the same problem, although a lot of the time mine are pretty scary (i see a lot of strangers in my room and i don't like it, sometimes spiders to) It isn't always narcolepsy, i don't have it and i still suffer from the wakeful dreams and have since i was a teen.  Mine are worse when I'm over-tired, and since you stated you're tired most of the time because of them its probably a vicious cycle.  Also, unfamiliar surroundings tend to make them worse, which would explain your hotel problem.  My hallucinations, as it turns out, were mostly related to my thyroid.  I had hyperthyroidism (graves disease) and after i was treated, they got a lot better, though they still aren't gone.  I would go and talk to your doctor about them, these annoying hallucinations may be evidence to an underlying health problem.

In the mean time try and use a consistent phrase to remind yourself your dreaming.  I was lucky, my dad would hear me when i was a teen, and come into my room, telling me "Your having a dream" and i would snap out of it.  Now, i have my boyfriend who uses the same phrase, i wake up pretty fast because of it.  It has to be the same phrase though, try and get a consistent one for yourself it may help.

I totally feel for you.  The worst part is waking up in the morning and having to go back to work when you feel like you've been working all night.  Its as though your never off!

Hope that helped a little Pam.  Good luck.

Titian5 wrote at 2009-11-20 06:01:48
I have had the same experience for years! (I am 39 years old). I know that I've done it since I was 17, and probably earlier.  My hallucinations usually involve bugs and spiders, but not always.  I often wake up while it is happening and when I do, I can remember what the dream was about.  Yes, you are hallucinating- not just having a vivid dream.  I have had arguments with people in this state and have insisted that, "I am not asleep!". I do not think that you have narcolepsy - it sounds like what is called a night terror or sleep terror disorder.  There is also something called hallucinatory sleep paralysis, but people who suffer from that experience paralysis-they cannot move during the experience.  I have known several other people who suffer from night terrors (and they aren't always scary)-  you aren't alone!  

Rosie wrote at 2009-12-31 07:05:20
It's such a relief to read stories from other people suffering from the same thing.

I see people in my room regularly - some are people I know, but others incredibly frightening-looking strangers who either stand there glaring at me or hover ghost-like over my bed.  When I first started my job as an esl teacher I would often be convinced I was teaching a lesson from my bed at boyfriend often woke up to the sound of me drilling english grammar constructions to people who of course weren't actually there!

I have many more instances of me behaving like a complete lunatic at night that I won't bother to share with you because if you're reading this, the chances are you have enough stories of your own!

Elizabeth wrote at 2010-01-15 05:23:27
I have been having the same thing happening to me. I hallucinate that there is a party in my room and sometimes I get really nervous because I feel weird like everyones partying around me and I'm just laying in a bed. I cant really get up to do anything about it, all I can do is sit up and talk. Its been happening more and more often and now I cant tell the difference between my dreams and real life. Im not sleeping well and I don't know what to do about it.

M wrote at 2010-02-14 13:16:33
So fascinating and comforting to read these similar experiences. I get these hallucinations about once a week, usually after a party or night out with people. Like Elizabeth and Andy, I feel really weird laying in bed in pyjamas while my friends stand or sit around the room.. I wonder how to get everybody out before morning. I often sit up laughing and cover my face because I worry someone might take a photo of me with my hair all over the place. Sometimes there'll just be a friend sitting on my legs at the end of the bed. After a while it becomes really frustrating because I can't get rid of the feeling of them there and lay awake til the sun rises.

spartansk1 wrote at 2010-02-28 21:19:39
ha your not crazy. the exact same thing happens to me all the time. There called sleep halucinations: they are mainly visual and usually revolve around people or animals. For me mine are just like yours seeing friends in my room hah. anyways its no big deal so dont worry about being crazy

shawnw wrote at 2010-06-16 18:51:32
I too have had the same hallucinations.  I was sure it was a diet thing but I could never really figure out which food was making this happen.  5 weeks ago I became a vegetarian (after watching Food Inc., ew!!!) and no hallucinations since!  Last night was the first night I have had any problems.  And it wasn't quite a visual hallucination.  I woke up yelling nonsense to my roommate in the other bedroom.  I had a product with egg in it for dinner.  I am not going to say this is the answer for everyone, but it has helped me.  And it wasn't that hard to cut out meat  products after watching that movie.  Good Luck!

Charlotte wrote at 2010-07-09 22:25:18
Hi, I suffer with the same thing and have done since I was a child.  It started after showing parents round my school one evening as part of a presentation...that night I was up walking around my room thinking they were there and needed to be shown around. It happens whenever I change my job or when something new takes place like having people round or my son learning to crawl. I've pretended to pick up my son and put him back in his cot even though I knew he was already in his cot, but the hallucination was so real that it was easier to play along with it!  I've tried to pick up paperwork that's in fact my sheets, I've needed to serve customers when I worked on a bar but been embarrassed as I was in my p.j' name it I've been through it with this problem.  I think it's to do with not being able to clear my head of things before bed as it usually relates to something new in my life. Each one always passes. I've never thought to do anything about it but there's no harm in you seeing your doc if it's becoming too much, that's what they're there for.  Good luck mate, feel free to speak to me more about this.

Tris wrote at 2010-07-27 07:17:18
It's 2010 so a little bit out of date but I know exactly what you're talking about and the movie "Inception" just freaked me out because I experience hallucinations almost every single night of my life and I hate it.  Hit me up if you wanna talk because my mom and wife don't really believe me because they haven't felt it the way I do.  Only people who've lived it know what I'm talking about...

Gem wrote at 2010-09-14 02:22:32
Thank you so much Suzanne for all the information you posted. I will repost below so others can see.

My mother started hallucination after years of taking Cymbalta it turns out it was causing them. The Dr said it might be the beginning of  Alzheimer's and said to keep taking the meds. I weaned her off them very slowing and sure enough the problem went away. She never had the problem before. Then the sleeping pills did the same, I weaned her off of them and again the hallucinations were gone. But she has had them for the last three nights and I don't' know why. But at least I can explain it to her now. I had a clue but not a name for this problem. It's scary not only for the person having hallucinations but also for their loved ones. So vary happy I found this place ty so much for everyone who has shared their experience. Repost below.

suzanne d wrote at 2009-02-23 19:07:21

You have a REM disorder called a parasomnia. I have had the same thing since I was a child and I am now 40. My hallucinations are sometimes benign but often they are about intruders. It wasn't until I hurt myself and my GYN/OB told me to go for help. They put me on Klonopin, a drug that is used for seizures, anxiety and sleep disorders. It really worked for me. I went on it 3 years ago and still have break through hallucinations while travelling #hotels# or under stress.

See a reputable sleep doctor. They will know exactly what is wrong within one sentence of you speaking. They may require a sleep study, but you never know.

Robyn wrote at 2010-09-30 12:47:34
This also happens to me, but usually just before I go to sleep.  I can sit up in bed and see things in the room, spiders, snakes, faces, people, things on the ceiling, a snake curling its way down the curtain, things crawling on the dressing table.  I am awake and also know the things arent really there, but I do think they are there.  I have to remind myself they are not. Sometimes I speak to my husband and ask if he can see it (e.g a huge spider on the wall)and one night I told him the spider people were outside trying to get in.  My mother also had this problem.  I take Inderal tablets for migraines which work well relieving the migraines, but the chemist told me they can cause people to have weird dreams.  Im not worried about all this and sort of miss seeing the things when they stop for a while, but they always come back.  I actually find it quite entertaining.

ClaireTheBear wrote at 2010-10-21 03:26:11
I have had this problem since I was a child; I am now 33.  If you research "hypnagogic hallucinations" you will see that this is likely what you are experiencing.  It goes along with certain sleep disorders.

I have found that wearing a sleeping mask helps a great deal.  It blocks out my bedroom and anything else that my open eyes might take in and my brain convert to a hallucination.  I also wear earplugs to block out noises that could cause the problem.  This helps enormously.  I tell my husband that I want my own little sensory-deprivation chamber to sleep in.  He laughs but I am sure he is tired of me waking him all the time for some hallucinated emergency or other.

It kind of sucks that so few people are able to get real answers about their sleep disorders and many people will think you are crazy for simply describing something that greatly affects your life.  

Em wrote at 2010-11-10 06:11:11
Youre not alone- when younger I used to regualarly do it. Id be sitting up in my bed talking to friends- a party going on in my room- and then keep wondering why they didnt think it was strange I was in my Pjs. Eventually Id ask them to leave because I was feeling tired.

Now Im having scarey ones- which is why I was googling it- happens at the beginning stages of sleep. I have a feeling of being scared so put the light on- and can then watch things moving. For example things in a picture will start moving around. I am actually watching- am awake and aware of whats happening- and have to shake myself and stop looking at whatever Im looking at. Eventually I get to sleep. Recently (last few years really) they have been scarey- like watching a paranormal movie. Cant be good - so will check it out when I get back home- am on vacation at the moment.  

Theresa wrote at 2010-12-05 09:39:05
I get shivers reading your answer, because I go through exactly the same thing.  Literally, I would sit up in my bed and see other people in my room, see my friends and talk to them; and I usually get annoyed because I would be so tired and I want them to go away so I can sleep.  And I've had it where I thought I was doing some sort of project or building something, and I would see it there on my bed and feel it in my hands, just as you described.  There's been quite a few times where I would only see one man ... and I dunno who it is, he's just a shadow to me, but he would turn and leave the room without saying anything.  And I would actually get out of my bed and follow him.  It doesn't happen to me quite as frequent as it does to you, but at least once or twice every week.  Sometimes more.  And yes, it happens to me no matter where I am.  

I remember one time, I was hallucinating that there was something in my ear, and I could actually feel it in there.  And I dug at my ear all night trying to get it out, and my ear was red and super sore in the morning and the rest of the day.

This is really hard to explain to other people, and it seems like no one else understood what I was trying to tell them.  I've done a lot of research online, but it seemed all accounts similar to mine [ours] ... were frightening to the person.  I don't remember ever being necessarily scared...

anyways, I see you posted this quite a few years ago, so I'm curious on what you may have found out since then, if it's still happening, and whatever.  :)

Lauren wrote at 2010-12-11 20:40:56
Hi Pamela,

I know it's been 5 years since you asked your question, but I just found it via google and was amazed by how similar your experiences are to mine.

I experienced exactly the same thing when I was a teenager (I'm now 25). Every night, for an hour or two, I would be sitting up in my bed talking to my friends, who I believed were sitting around and chatting, eating their school lunch, having fun etc. I often used to just sit and watch the hallucinations thinking they were real, I didn't always interact - but it was exhausting. When I was in my school play, every night I thought that the entire orchestra and all the actors were in my room rehearsing, and I'd feel really upset about it because the "music" was keeping me awake - I'd suddenly realise that I was sitting bolt upright in bed, fully awake, eating invisible sandwiches, unsure of how long I'd been conscious.

My friends and family assured me that I was dreaming - but like you, I also have vivid, multiple dreams and could tell that I was conscious (or at least, in a state between waking or sleeping - for hours). I know for sure that I wasn't asleep during these episodes - sometimes I'd move a coffee cup, turn on a light etc. People who haven't experienced it can't understand - to them it sounds exactly like a dream, but it is unmistakable - I know that I am awake at these times, hallucinating and mildly confused.

As the years went by, I learned to live with these imaginary night time social gatherings in my bedroom, and they actually stopped happening a while back. Then, a few months ago, I started experiencing them again, and my boyfriend confirmed that I would wake him up, sitting up in bed with my eyes open talking to people who weren't there, apparently once even shushing him when he tried to speak to me, because I'm "in a work meeting and the graphic designers are presenting and we should pay attention" etc.

That was a month or two ago. There was nothing for the past few weeks, then last night I suddenly realised that I was sitting up in bed with a transparent, invisible male head hovering in the air above me staring into my eyes, he had a transparent brain, eyes etc of which I could just see the outlines... no idea how long I sat there looking at him... I know I was awake, I thought logically about the hallucinations, where I was etc while studying his blank glassy expression, I turned on the light and couldn't really look up out of fear that he was still looking at me, I sent a text message to a friend telling her that I was hallucinating and scared, he was gone when I looked up again... she phoned me this morning and asked if I was ok, confirming that the text message wasn't a dream. This is the first time that I was really scared by the experience.

That's how I stumbled on this ancient post of your's - I was searching for people with similar experiences, to try and figure out why this old problem is resurfacing and what to do about it. Did you ever find out what caused it? If you did, I would really like to know what you found out. Is it treatable? Do you still suffer with these hallucinations? I'm scared that maybe this is a sign of an underlying mental disorder or something - I'm a magazine journalist and my job is high-pressure, and I don't think I could cope with the added stress of waking up every morning exhausted because I'm having imaginary night time visitors.



Caddy B wrote at 2011-01-08 00:07:08
Hey, I'm 17 too and i have had the exact same thing you're talking about! i used to see people in my room all the time and people used to say the same things to me! it hasn't happened for a while and it was usually when i was VERY tired. It hasn't happened for ages until new year.... but i wasn't in bed i was awake but hadn't slept properly for a few days. it got to about 3 in the morning and i was in my boyfriends room talking to my friends who weren't there. He thought i was going crazy and tried to lock me in the room and stop me from going to a party because of it!!! if you find out what its all about id like to know! :) x

jwoodhog wrote at 2011-05-19 04:01:31
I would also say go to a nuerologist first!  My wife has hullucinations at night before bedtime.  A Nuerologists will send you to a sleep study if necessary.  This is not normal and needs treatment.  Stay positive.

KRisty wrote at 2012-02-20 06:31:30
I was having this too, same time, my dr said its from my blood sugar dropping at night thats why it kept happening 3-4 hours after i fell asleep, this sour too simple....she has me eat protein right as I'm heading to bed, not a ton i just grab a piece of lunch meat. i started doing this and immediately that first night no hallucinations. and been free for 4 weeks now. I thought I was being haunted cause  would wake up and see a dark shadow by my bed and couldnt move or scream then it was gone.  wow I wonder how many people think there being haunt and find out its just low blood sugar. the protein keeps sugar levels stable till morning. sounds to o easy but it worked!!

Janice Morrison wrote at 2012-04-20 10:31:42
Pamela, it's so good to know that someone else has this whacky experience! I really did think it was just me. I've been having these exact hallucinations for years now (I'm 32). They probably started when I was about 12, when I still lived at home. I used to always think there were spiders in my room and the occasional old lady. When I moved away to study and shared a flat, my flatmates were quite used to my night time 'episodes', but i just put it down to student antics (drinking cheap vodka/beer etc.) However, years later - they're getting much worse. I went to the doctor 6 years ago when i 'came to' as I was beating my bedroom window (of a 3rd floor flat) thinking I was being burried. I got such a fright that I might have broken the window. Dr offered me sleeping pills - no thanks Dr. I don't have a problem falling asleep, I could fall asleep on a washing line. I just have problems staying asleep.I always think people are in my room and speak to them regularly. I don't get scared, I just wonder how they got into my flat and wonder when they might leave. All this wk I've had nocturnal episodes. I've tried valerian, lettuce leaf, lemon balm, lavender, Ovaltine, no tv, tv, yoga, no exercise, exercise, relaxing baths, no caffeine or alcohol - you name it. Just now I'm taking Kalms. As I said, I fall asleep everywhere and regularly nod off at my desk at work. I wouldnt say I'm sleep deprived, but my friends are now calling me Casper because they think I see friendly ghosts through night.The answer below has given me some hope that I too am not going crazy, nor seeing ghosts, phew.

Janice (Glasgow)

A wrote at 2012-05-02 04:02:21
Oh my gosh, that sounds EXACTLY like what I used to have! I actually forgot about it until now, but I was just searching for information about hallucinatory sleep disorder and I found this...

When I was in high school and worked at a smoothie shop, I would have the same sort of hallucinations at night that you mentioned; making the drinks, pouring them for the customers, freaking out if I messed something up.. I would have these almost every night. And sometimes it would be me talking to friends or family as well.

This finally stopped after I worked there for a few years, but now I still have horrible sleep paralysis hallucinations. Where I know I'm half sleeping, half awake, and I see figures or auras, and I feel like I'm suffocating and can't wake up. Lately I've been getting these a few times a week and it is so terrifying!

I think these problems do mostly arise from stress or lack of sleep.. I know I got hallucinations about my job because I was so nervous I would mess up or forget something, and I think I'm getting hallucinations now because of the stress of school and such. This is definitely something you can talk to your doctor about though, as the person above me said.. I've been reading up on it and most people just don't think it's worth discussing, but they could give you some useful information or if it's bad enough prescribe you something.

I'm seeing now that you posted this in 2005 so I doubt you will see this, but for anyone else out there that's looking for information this might be useful.

Anyone else out there experiencing these same sort of hallucinations??

patrick wrote at 2012-05-07 11:58:40
I get the same thing though not for as long, maybe 5 or ten minutes.I had an imaginary friend when i was a kid who id get up and tell people about in the morning thinking they where real and a few times up to now iv not slept or slept and hallucinated with others in the room which can be embarrising the day after [ie waking up going to the door and insisting that i need a magic key!]. But when im a bit stressed iv tended to hear stuff and think that it was real and get angry thinking people are lying saying they dont hear it too which gets me more stressed and makes me think people are scheming at me. Watch out for this cos it can ruin friendships.

Much love and good luck.

Ruth wrote at 2012-07-17 23:39:11
When I was younger I would sleeptalk and walk. But I haven't done both for awhile. Now I have what most of you are describing. I'm awake, obviously not fully conscious, seeing things that aren't there. I've seriously ripped open my pillow thinking it was a bag of candy and tried to open up a "door" inside my closet. But in the last 6 years it has been more than that. It seems to only happen when I go to bed late(until last night I thought that), or am really tired. As others mentioned it happens early on in the night and seems to be linked linked to spending the day doing something repetitive. The first time it happened I had spent the day handing out samples. I woke up and was handing out samples in my bed, after a while i realized I was in my bed and as I slowly became coherent I stopped and went back to bed. Usually they last only until I realize what is happening and go back to sleep. It's so frustrating to be forcing yourself to stay awake, just because there are others in your room and you have stay awake. Sometimes I just say forget this, and fall back asleep, too tired to care that I slept while people were in my room. But usually there is something that triggers my mind to know that it isn't real.

I've stood in a line up leading to the bathroom, in my hotel room, the night I went to disneyworld.  

I was cutting grass on my bed. (That one occured 5-10 times) Once my room was so messy that I didn't want to wreck the lawnmower by running things over, so I stopped.

I've even changed out of my pajamas because I felt embarrassed wearing them while people were in my room.

After reading what has been written I feel lucky that this doesn't happen very often for me. I think the most it ever happened was a week in a row. I was in mexico and in the morning, after a couple of days in a row of this, I tried to explain this stuff in Spanish. Trust me, that was even more confusing that trying to explain it to friends and family.

Annie wrote at 2012-07-27 00:54:04
Hi Pam,

As it's been five years, I don't imagine you're still reading this. I hope you figured it out. I'm simply amazed at how many others have night hallucinations like the ones you initially described. I have the same ones, (groups of people in my room, urgency and panic in an imaginary work situation like Charlotte's, etc) going on twenty years now. Like Lauren, I have learned to live with imaginary nighttime gatherings. And I too put post-it notes allover my alarm clock, and bedside table.

Mine have varied in intensity, in college I hurt my face jumping out of a bunk bed in an intense hallucination, the worst thing that has happened in the recent past is I've gotten dressed and left the house for work at 2am. After I once sent a hallucinating email to a boss, I now keep my laptop out of the bedroom.

I liked reading other people's solutions, from avoiding certain food and drink, to medications to changing your sleep environment. I will mention my solution as well--as a 28 year old female, relatively healthy lifestyle, no meds, I found that having a roommate (or uh, lover) reduced the severity of the hallucinations dramatically. Since "I need you so I don't have night hallucinations" isn't the healthiest way to start a relationship, it might surprise people to learn that I've had two (non-romantic) roommates (as in sharing a room) from ages 24-28, friends who were amazingly enough willing to share a sleeping area for cheaper rent. I realize how unusual that is. Waking up and having someone nearby has helped, I otherwise can spend hours stuck in a hallucination while sitting in bed. I recently moved for work and am struggling again with hallucinations once more, when it's been a few days of hallucinations, I will ask a friend if I can sleepover. Bizarre, and unlikely to work for most people but it's helped me to read so many of these and realize I'm not alone.

Jess wrote at 2012-11-25 09:49:00
Wow this thread has been going for a while, I just wanted to add my experience.

I keep waking up and opening my door and having a conversation with someone, usually it refers to an event in my life. ie i went skydiving not so long ago and the person at the door was getting me to hurry up and join everyone on the field. this led to me panickly putting on socks etc and with a very strong urge to go outside. I went downstairs and only just managed to wake my self up I guess. There are other instances where I just shout out "WHAT?" in the middle of the night, or go for a wander in the hallway. I've text-slept before...

It all seems to be dreams turning into reality and me acting them out. It's getting massively frustrating, and whilst it may be a funny story for everyone else I am worried what these 'Hallucinations' actually mean. I'm 20 now, and I have been sleep walking since I was a young child (I once woke up mid-shower...) I don't want to go to the doctor to be put on meds, I want to know if it's a long term disorder or if it's stress?

reading these comments has been very helpful. I feel for those who have horrid 'dreams' with bugs and strangers. I hope everyone finds a solution/ has found one.  

Stephanie wrote at 2013-01-06 02:13:34
I have these sleeping "hallucinations" too. I've been having them for a couple of years now. I've always been a restless sleeper, I would sleepwalk as a child and interact with people while I slept. It's gotten A LOT worse in the past 2 years.

I had a horrible night terror in a hotel in 2010. I was seeing tons of people around my bed, I started screaming and scratching my face. My boyfriend was there and roused me from the dream but I couldn't sleep. I was scared to sleep. I had another night terror shortly after, my dog was laying at the end of the bed and I was "hallucinating" that she was biting and attacking me. I kicked her and screamed for help. I couldn't sleep after that and the guilt of having hurt my dog really got to me. She wouldn't come in my room after that and I barely sleep when she does lay on my bed (which is rare now).

Those were the only times I harmed anyone. But there were lots of other times. I wake up screaming every now and then. I broke my door sleepwalking-I was trying desperately to get out of my room and was opening it the wrong way. I bent the hinges and did get out.

My bed is facing my door, where I hang my coats. I find myself waking up, talking to the coats as if they're a person (just about every night). They do resemble a body so I think I'm sleeping with my eyes else would I start a conversation with it?

I'm 19. So I'm past the age of night terrors/sleepwalking being normal. I drink A LOT of caffeine, so I don't know if that's it. I'm almost scared of finding out what's going on. And I don't want to be taking medication. But if it continues like this, I'll have to. At least I know I'm not alone.  

dippydora wrote at 2013-01-23 00:58:43
I have the exact same thing, I always thought I was seeing spirits or something.

I'm 29 and have been having them for years, normally big spiders which I wake up hitting away and even turn the light on to check it's not in my bed or dangling on a web in front of my face, occasionally it's a person in the room which freaks me out. My last one was 2 nights ago when I saw my 1 year old son walk into the room towards me and I asked him what he was doing up and how did he get out of his cot, I got up to walk him back to his room and he wasn't there but it's as clear now in my mind as it was then.

Its not triggered by sharing a room and when I was pregnant I don't remember having any but they do freak me out and it takes a while for me to calm myself down. I didn't know if it was stress related as I used to suffer from anxiety attacks and then had post natal depression with my son. It happens more when I have not long been to sleep so I thought it was if my brain was still working whilst my body was asleep. I don't sleep walk so luckily I havent woken up in a strange place but it does interfere with my sleep and I always wake up feeling exhausted.

I am going to try and cut out caffine, I don't drink coffee but maybe tea and coke are aiding these visions.

mavis wrote at 2013-01-29 15:14:25
having just gone to doctor

about my night time hallucinations i decided to research this being a bit scare i am loosing my mind  i am 61 i am soo relieved to have found this sight and read all the letters. it feels so good to know there isnt just me and i will see what the dr comes up with and also take on board all the things i have read. cant describe how this has taken a weight of my shoulders knowing im not alone and i can get help. thank you so much to all the people who sent letters  

McD wrote at 2013-02-04 22:06:09
I have had similar symptoms at least since early adolescence, maybe earlier. For me they are often scary, short-lived and precipitated by lack of adequate sleep and/or excessive stress.

I believe that these symptoms are associated with:

Narcolepsy (cataplexy) AND/OR

Sleep paralysis

Since I learned that this is just a little neurological misfire in my brain and not a real-life evil being standing over my bed (or whatever) I mostly just find it interesting. In the moment though, it's terrifying.

Sleep Disorders

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Karel Sleis


all questions on sleep disorders,expert on narcolepsy,its symptoms


i have narcolepsy since age l6

past chairman of the american narcolepsy association
member of narcolepsy network

©2017 All rights reserved.